By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Impact Wrestling Hits
Brian Cage, Pentagon Jr., and Fenix vs. Sami Callihan, Jake Crist, and Dave Crist: A decent teaser for the same match a Bound For Glory. It didn’t last long and it had a cheap finish, but you had to know they wouldn’t have a clean finish given the circumstances. I’m surprised this was more about emphasizing the in-ring action rather than putting heat on the heels.
Austin Aries and Johnny Impact verbal exchange: I came away with mixed feelings on this segment. The verbal back and forth between the champion and challenger heading into Bound For Glory was solid. And it was especially nice that Impact avoided using one of his cornball insults (e.g. “turd cutters”). At the same time, I felt bad for the fans in the Mexico City venue who don’t speak English and had to sit through this. While I settled in on this being a minor Hit, I can’t help but wonder why the company didn’t take the sit-down interview and video package approach that they took for the Aries vs. Moose match build for Slammiversary. The production team did a terrific job of making that feel like a big time main event, whereas the headline match for the company’s biggest show of the year just doesn’t feel nearly as important. In fact, they have failed to make Bound For Glory as a whole feel important even though the lineup looks decent on paper.
Matt Sydal vs. Rich Swann: The good match one would expect from these two followed by a surprising angle with Ethan Page showing up and attacking Swann. Page is a good talker and is a nice addition to the Impact roster now that he’s playing something other than the cornball Chandler Park character. I must add that I’m still not sold on the “third eye” persona that Sydal is using. Sydal is one of the most improved talkers in the business, but his gimmick really limits him. The spiritual guru character is a mid-card minor annoyance act that just doesn’t generate meaningful heat.
Eli Drake vs. La Parka: Drake should be in the main event mix and he’s been completely wasted with a directionless visit to the undercard. With that weekly note out of the way, the La Parka surprise was well received by the live crowd and he’s a name that should be familiar to a lot of viewers.
Impact Wrestling Misses
Overall Show: Craptastic B-movies and wonky comedy segments. There are some occasional moments of actual pro wrestling sprinkled in, but the company that was showing signs of life at Slammiversary is limping into Bound For Glory. Impact has assembled a quality roster of talent and BFG could be good if it’s a straight forward pro wrestling show just as Slammiversary was. The Impact television show is anything but that these days and it’s become painful to watch.
Eddie Edwards and Moose: Impact continues to take the Lucha Underground cinematic approach and it’s still a major turnoff. LU created its own storyline universe where this is the norm. Impact’s narrative approach varies by the segment and lacks consistency. More often than not, segments like this one leave me feeling like I tuned in for a pro wrestling show and end up getting a horrible B-movie. The campiness completely takes me out of the moment and this segment was laughably awful.
Kiera Hogan vs. Su Yung: Impact creative managed to kill off the specialness of the Yung character by booking her to take too many unnecessary losses. And now they are going overboard with the casket gimmick by acting like it’s the end of the world when one of the Knockouts is placed inside a casket and it is closed. Allie could have went after Yung once she closed the casket, but instead Allie acted horrified as if Hogan was gone forever the moment it closed. This was so horribly campy and the once lovable Allie character has taken a major turn for the worse because of this nonsense.
Joe Hendry vs. Murder Clown: The broadcast team had some fun with the murder clown gimmick and made this tolerable, but Katarina’s feud with Hendry and Grado isn’t doing much for me.